Fit-again Wang Yihan sets sights on London Olympics
A fit-again Wang Yihan has set her sights firmly on next summer's Olympic Games after regaining her place as one of the world's top players.
The 23-year-old from Shanghai climbed back to the world's top ranking in August after winning the women's singles world title in London - a test event for the 2012 Olympics. And with three Super Series titles under her belt this year, Wang is already a favourite for the London Games.
'I am now enjoying a good spell, but it wasn't the same story last year,' said Wang, who is in town for the Hong Kong Open, a title she won in 2009. 'I wasn't even in last year's Hong Kong Open because of a lack of form. But after going through such a difficult period, I am now a much more mature player and have become more consistent.
'While the Hong Kong Open is definitely my target, I also want to do well in the China Open in Shanghai and the Macau Open before reaching the Super Series finals in Liuzhou next month.'
China dominate the women's singles rankings and will be spoilt for choice as a maximum of three players can go to London 'We are pretty strong at the moment, but there is still plenty of time before the Olympic Games and it's difficult to predict anything,' Wang said. 'Also, other countries are producing good players and will not give up without a fight, especially in the Olympics.'
Although Wang surrendered the top spot to compatriot Wang Shixian this month, she is still in second place. Another national team member, Wang Xin, is third and the three are well clear of fourth-placed Saina Nehwal of India.
Under the Olympic qualifying rules, a country can send a maximum of three singles players to the London Games only if it can occupy the top four positions when the qualifying period ends next April. With another mainlander, Jiang Yanjiao, in fifth place China are likely to have a numbers advantage.
Wang Xin, who won two Super Series tournaments in Europe before coming for the Hong Kong leg, said she was confident of making it three in a row. 'I look forward to playing again in Hong Kong, especially after losing in the semi-finals here last year,' she said. 'I cannot take anything for granted as it is always challenging in any Super Series event.'